2014 Argentina MotoGP Sunday Round Up: Of New Tracks, Doohanesque Domination, And The Merits Of A Rossi Revival

There is much to be said in praise of the first running of the Argentinian round of MotoGP at the Termas de Rio Hondo circuit. First and foremost, praise should be heaped upon the circuit itself. Designer Jarno Zafelli took a formerly pedestrian layout and added just enough kinks and twists to make for an exhilarating and difficult racetrack. There are plenty of places to pass, and sections different enough that teams and riders can concentrate on their strengths, though that makes them vulnerable at other parts of the track. Add in a final section which lends itself to last-gasp attacks – at the risk of penalty points, as Romano Fenati found out – and you have an utterly superb track for motorcycle racing. If Jarno Zafelli of Dromo was hired more often, instead of Hermann Tilke, there would be a lot more fantastic circuits to race at.

The only negative was the fact that the track was still so dirty, a result of it not yet having seen enough action. Once the riders got off line, they found themselves struggling for grip, losing a lot of ground. Fortunately for the races, almost everyone got off line at some point or other, putting them all on an even footing. Once the surface cleans up properly, the track should offer even more places to attack, and alternate lines through sections. The Termas de Rio Hondo circuit is a fine addition to the calendar.

Crowds and racers thought so too. Attendance wasn't as high as expected: nearly 53,000 paying customers on Sunday, well shy of the 70,000 which had been hoped, but over 6,000 more than Laguna Seca, the race it replaced, despite being a long way from the nearest large conurbations. But the atmosphere was electric, and people came from all over South and Central America to see the action. Adding a race in this part of the world was badly needed. The authorities built it, and the crowds came.

The circuit produced a mixed bag of races: a thrilling Moto3 race, a dominant display in Moto2, and a MotoGP race which was closer than expected. Race of the day was Moto3, which Jack Miller looked like he had in the bag. At a fast track like Argentina getting away is impossible on a 250cc four-stroke single, and drafting is inevitable. Miller had pushed on with Romano Fenati and Efren Vazquez, being joined by Alex Marquez and Alex Rins later on. Rins got tangled up with Vazquez and dropped off the back, leaving just Miller, Marquez and Fenati to sort it out among themselves. The lead swapped regularly, the hard right of Turn 5 at the end of the back straight being one favorite passing spot, as were Turn 7 and Turn 1. But as the last couple of corners approached, Miller felt he had the situation under control. The Australian slid underneath Alex Marquez to take the lead on the turn into Turn 13, exactly as he had planned. What he hadn't planned on was Romano Fenati making a last-gasp attempt to pass the leaders, running out of tire and bumping into both Marquez and Miller. Fenati said he couldn't control his front tire, and so couldn't get the bike stopped as he had hoped.

That loss of control gave Fenati the win, despite Race Direction awarding him a penalty point after the fact. It was a hard move by Fenati, but most of all, it was a mistake rather than a calculated and cynical attempt to bump his rivals out of the way. Miller was livid, but accepted the outcome. He still has a comfortable lead of 17 points over Fenati, but he also probably has revenge in his heart. Next time Fenati gets too close, Miller will be prepared. The fans will love it. Race Direction may not.

After a close Moto3 race, you might expect Moto2 to be more of the same. Times during practice for the intermediate class had been close, many riders within a second of the leader. But Tito Rabat had no intention of hanging around, making a break and going on to take the win unchallenged. Rabat's advantage is even larger than Miller's, the Marc VDS Racing rider leading his teammate Mika Kallio by 28 points, or more than a win. Rabat's lead in the championship is a reflection of the consistency of the Spaniard. His rivals keep failing, Maverick Viñales crashing out in Argentina, with Viñales' Pons teammate and former Moto3 rival Luis Salom taking his first podium.

Belgian rider Xavier Simeon more than made up for his error at the last race in Texas by hanging on to come home in second. This time, Simeon stayed calm, and did not make any mistakes. Rabat was beyond his reach, but a podium was not, just rewards for the Gresini rider. Simeon was not the only Belgian to do well, Livio Loi had taken his best ever finish a little earlier in Moto3. Loi's fourth place was an excellent result for the Belgian, especially as it came on his 17th birthday. Given the debut win by Michael van der Mark in the World Supersport race in Assen earlier in the day, it was an excellent day all round for the residents of the Low Countries.

Then came MotoGP. The first few laps provided some genuine excitement, with a massive battle going on behind Jorge Lorenzo, who managed to get away at the front. It proved a bit of a false dawn: once Marc Marquez had elbowed his way past the bunch ahead of him, he quickly chased down Lorenzo. There he sat, quietly and calmly, until he saw his Repsol Honda teammate Dani Pedrosa start to close in. Seeing it was time to make his move, he passed Lorenzo, dropped his lap times by half a second, and cruised home for the win. Victory in Argentina made it three wins in a row, and a perfect record for Marquez. Three poles, three wins, 75 points and an advantage of 19 points over his nearest rival, teammate Pedrosa.

The ease with which Marquez switched tactics, blitzed past Lorenzo and then put a couple of seconds into the Movistar Yamaha rider in just a few laps speaks volumes of exactly how easy this win was for Marquez. The outcome was never really in doubt, especially as Marquez had dominated practice. The Spaniard is imposing a genuine reign of terror: the last time a rider won the first three races from pole position was in 1971, when Giacomo Agostini was dominating on the MV Agusta. Ominously, that year Agostini took pole in the first eight races, which he also went on to win. The difference with 1971 is that where Agostini was riding a 500cc triple and competing with single cylinder Manx Nortons and the very first two strokes, Suzuki 500cc twins, Marquez faces a field full of factory-built bikes, Hondas, Yamahas and Ducatis. Still, Marquez' rule is complete.

If it continues in this vein, we could be in for another period of Doohanesque dominance. In the second half of the 1990s, the question was not who would be world champion in premier class, but rather how early Mick Doohan would be able to wrap the 500cc title up. It was a dark period for Grand Prix racing, fans fading away to watch World Superbikes, which featured closer racing, but more importantly, a larger-than-life character in 'King' Carl Fogarty, complete with comedy villains such as Frankie Chili. Luckily for Marquez – and for MotoGP fans – the Spaniard is a much frothier and friendlier character than the dark and dour Doohan, and though the racing in World Superbikes is excellent, there is no great narrative, no story being handed to journalists and fans on a plate. Fans are likely to stick with Grand Prix racing simply because there is no alternative, with Marquez' sunny disposition making him easier to watch.

Can Marquez' dominance be fixed? It seems unlikely. Marquez' reign of terror is not based on greatly superior machinery, though the Honda RC213V is clearly the best of the factory bikes. The rule changes coming in 2016 will make little difference in this regard, and given Marquez' control of the Moto2 class on an inferior machine – though Marquez' Catalunya Caixa Suter was immaculately prepared, it was nowhere near as easy to ride or turn as the Kalexes which dominated the grid – there is little room for hope. Much has been made of the three-class system in MotoGP, with the Factory Option bikes, Ducatis, and then Open class machines. In reality, there are only two classes: Marc Marquez, and the rest.

I always believed there was no greater racer than Giacomo Agostini, and then came Valentino Rossi. When I understood exactly what Casey Stoner was doing, I believed I would never see a better motorcycle racer than Stoner, the Australian eclipsing Rossi in terms of raw talent. Now, here comes Marc Marquez, shattering expectations, making the very best motorcycle racers in the world look rather silly. The sooner Maverick Viñales, Alex Marquez, Jack Miller, maybe even Fabio Quartararo join MotoGP's premier class, the better.

Though Marquez' talent is beyond question, clearly he also has an advantage in terms of equipment. The Honda simply manages the liter less fuel and harder 2014 tires better than the Yamaha. A fairer reference point is Dani Pedrosa, who sits in second spot in the championship. Pedrosa leads the Yamahas, but is no match for Marquez.

The advantage which the Hondas have is starting to get to Jorge Lorenzo. Asked in the press conference where the Yamaha is losing out to the Honda, Lorenzo said the pattern was much the same as 2013. 'We miss more or less what we missed last year, but a little more,' he said. 'The bike needs to brake a little bit later, and it needs to stop in a short time. Also, we are missing a little bit of acceleration and top speed. More or less the things we were missing last year.' The problem is that the engine freeze means that Yamaha can do nothing to the engine to try to make up the deficit. 'We can still improve the electronics and the chassis. I will try to improve myself, and the set up with my mechanics and engineers,' Lorenzo said.

Lorenzo was at least more like the rider he was last year. Recovering some of the fitness he lost over the winter after undergoing a number of operations to remove various bits of metalwork from his body, Lorenzo is concentrating better than he did in the first couple of races, and is thinner and mentally tougher. But he is running into the limitations of the equipment he has. Yamaha will have to find some improvement if they foster any illusions of challenging Marquez. Where they will find such improvement remains to be seen.

Which brings us to the million dollar question: why does Yamaha let Honda make the rules? The reduction in fuel capacity was Honda's idea, which was accepted without question by Yamaha. The idea for an engine development freeze came from Dorna, but Yamaha were happy to acquiesce. Yamaha are getting their behinds poached, lightly grilled, and served up to them in a white wine and green herb sauce. It is a predicament of their own making, and one which they could at any time have avoided, either by switching to the Open class, as Ducati did, or by rebelling against the Honda-led MSMA. If Yamaha riders are to beat Marc Marquez, they need every advantage they can get. Meekly accepting every proposal Honda makes merely puts you even further on the back foot. At least Ducati has the moral conviction to stand up to HRC.

Which brings us to Valentino Rossi. The Italian finished 4th once again, the position he had a virtual monopoly of last year. Yet Rossi leaves Argentina optimistic. Where previously Rossi did not stand a chance of running with the top three, in Argentina, he had a shot at the podium. Getting tangled up with Stefan Bradl put him out of contention, the Italian claimed, where otherwise he would have been on the podium.

Is this true? What is certain is that Rossi is finishing much closer. In Argentina, Rossi was just under five seconds behind the winner. He was also just 1.6 seconds behind his teammate Jorge Lorenzo, who had led the race. Rossi says he has the pace, and when you look at the lap charts, you have to say he is not that far off the truth. Valentino Rossi lapped in the 1'39s on 12 occasions in Argentina, just two less than Dani Pedrosa, and five less than Marc Marquez. If you look at the twenty fastest laps set during the race, Marc Marquez posted eight of those laps, Pedrosa set seven, and Rossi managed four. Rossi's five fastest laps were a quarter of a second slower than Marquez' best five, but nearly three quarters of a second off the pace of Dani Pedrosa, who finished second. Rossi's ten fastest laps were a second slower than Marquez' ten quickest, and his fifteen best were 1.3 seconds slower than Marquez.

It is clear that Valentino Rossi has made great strides forward from last year. Rossi looks and talks as if he can be a factor again, and that has made a difference to his riding. The timesheets show that he is indeed nipping at the heels of the top three, but the question of whether he has managed to discard the moniker of the fourth best rider in the world remains to be seen. In Argentina, Rossi was once again fourth, a position he remains all too familiar with. On the evidence of 2014, Rossi will be much closer to the top three, which was his objective for the season. His trouble is that catching the leaders is one thing; regularly beating them is another thing altogether. Valentino Rossi will see a lot more of Marc Marquez, Dani Pedrosa and Jorge Lorenzo. The question is, just how close up will he be?

The next race at Jerez will be an important pointer. It is a circuit which Marquez, Pedrosa, Lorenzo and Rossi all love, though if you had to name a favorite, Dani Pedrosa would surely be it. Rossi's aim will be to find himself with a shot at the podium on the final laps, but he faces stiff opposition. The old master has his work cut out to keep the young wolves from his back.

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Yamaha agreeing to Honda's every whim is a Japanese thing.

It's almost as if they are scared to anger Honda, Godzilla of Japanese motorcycles, and the highest selling in the world....for fear that Honda would retaliate by putting all their muscle into extinguishing Yamaha sales on the showroom floors.

They play all too nice with each other. It has to be a cultural thing, but it grows tiresome.
They should have let Lorenzo test AE's bike and they should have thought about 24 liters of fuel. The crossplane is a little thirstier than the v4's.

Perhaps a comparison more telling of Rossi's improvement this year would be against his team mate.
The average of Rossi's 5 fastest laps is 0.25 seconds faster than the average of Lorenzo's 5 fastest. and the average of his 15 fastest laps is 0.15 seconds faster than Lorenzo.

I was thinking the same thing. No need to analyze lap charts. It was pretty clear to anyone watching the race. Rossi looked to be slowing making up ground on Lorenzo. Just look at how far back he was when Bradl punted him into the runoff vs how close he was when they finished, and bear in mind he had to work his way back through the field, Lorenzo didn't. It's safe to say he had the pace today.

Rossi is absolutely showing race pace to compete with Lorenzo. It will all be for naught, however, if he can't improve his hotlap pace on new tires during qualifying. The few tenths he is missing to Lorenzo is putting him in the knife fight in a closet with other riders that qualify between him and Lorenzo.

While it is exciting, the precious few seconds he loses dispatching of the Bradls and Ducatis will affect him every race. But for one error under braking, he had actually accomplished such a feat in Argentina, but he will inevitably be exposed to what Bradl did in this race and what Bautista did in Mugello 2013 and lord knows what his friend Crazy Joe will inevitably do based on past experiences...all while Lorenzo routinely stays ahead of such nonsense.

I really hope Rossi can sort this out, not only because I'm a 46 fan, but he will make these races much more exciting, and cause a few more fireworks in the box. Lorenzo would not handle it well, particularly as his undisputed dominance is his leverage as he approaches negotiations to get onto the best bike.

After seeing that video of how Lorenzo behaves with his team, it gave me all the more reason to cheer for Vale...and Marquez, and Dani. But most of all, I am cheering for closer racing, which I am sure we will get now in Europe at tracks where Jorge, Dani and Vale will be stronger.

After seeing that video of how Lorenzo behaves with his team, it gave me all the more reason to cheer for Vale

What video are you referring to? By some miracle, do you have a youtube link? If not, please describe what happened! (I'm assuming a Jorge Tantrum)

showing how Lorenzo had a terrible Austin race and started to come unhinged while Marquez lived it up and had fun. It was done like "While you were having problems, Marquez was setting the pace and leaving everyone else behind", showing Lorenzo getting angry at his team, etc. Someone on MotoMatters posted a Facebook link to the video since Dorna took it down quickly, but I couldn't find the link in anything recent.

Hopefully that person will see it and post the link.


As I see it, this video is no accident. This is part of Dorna's official "Vilification of Lorenzo" policy. You see, every racing series needs a 'Good Guy' and a complimentary 'Villain.' During the Rossi years, Biaggi, Stoner, and Gibbers (and others to a lesser degree) were ruthlessly thrown under the bus by the press, only too happy to follow the script, doing their part to deify #46. It's a no-brainer that MM is the next Anointed One; his glorification, and the labeling of an appropriate foe, must naturally follow. Look and listen for more material of this sort in the future. It won't be long until the odious Michael Scott starts making snarky remarks about JL's 'mental weakness.'


and lorenzo has always been the "bad guy" and to a majority of the supposed motogp fanbase he can never be or do good enough..

and on top of that, lorenzo's timing is bad enough that not only he was one of the biggest bad guys in the rossi days, he also is progressively being shown that way by the media in this beginning times of marquez days..

wasn't worth the time. Luckily for Lorenzo, Scott is there to give him advice on how it should be done.

So they show Lorenzo being a little irritated by his gloves. 'Angry at his team?' 'How he behaves with his team'? The guy is under huge pressure and development on the Yamaha is staying behind. I'd say he is keeping it darn calm.

I can't believe someone went to so much effort just to show how Jorge behaves under serious stress. They must really dislike him! Many riders have behaved similarly under pressure, even the greats so no real surprises. It really wouldn't matter which rider was the subject of a piece like this thoough, whomever made this piece of garbage and any site that give it space are rubbish. I never saw it posted myself, but was shocked although not surprised to read that Dorna actually put it on its site. This sort of media is not needed.

has had a few crankypants rants over the last decade+. Strangely, and despite all all the cameras that swarm him, we never/very rarely see these irritable moments...

Lorenzo's glove spat was perhaps telling of the pressure he's under, but it was also a FAR cry from a full-on Kosinski-level meltdown. (Arguably the Gold Standard! :) )

I only hope the Lorenzo-bashing doesn't reach the level that Biaggi endured. Sure, Max made it awfully easy, but that level of public vitriol was unnecessary and, IMO, rather inappropriate for an international racing series. Here's hoping that all involved keep it relatively respectful and classy.

right totally.

those who are judging him by that clip surely display how immature they are or may be as persons in general in real life, and how easily they judge someone based on a few chosen instances of their behaviour on their trusted and known colleagues deep inside the comfort of their home (garage in this case) under pressure and piss due to nothing working out for them.

as if, the said short-judging people themselves have not ever snapped or talked unduly roughly with their parents, partners, kids, friends or colleagues because they were too much under pressure or angry or depressed or something and just for a few moments ended up snapping at them (or otherwise venting out briefly in a non-violent/physical manner) even though it wasn't their fault..oh sure, if someone just saw that minute of your life, they must judge you as someone who usually and identically behaves badly with his parents, partners, kids, friends and colleagues, no ?

confining just to motogp paddock, it's obvious that every damn rider in history has at some points of their careers behaved a bit roughly with someone in their team even when it wasn't their fault..they are going out on their lives, they have ambitions, they ride at the limit and some of them at the top have immense pressure when shit doesn't work out at all for a prolonged time no matter whatever is done, and when that happens, it's utterly human and natural to briefly have moments of (unphysical) rough behaviour on those close to you..

that was a very bad media stunt by dorna, it's actually something that lorenzo if he wanted could have sued them for, that's how dumb this media stunt of dorna's was..

as rightly pointed out above, despite all cameras over rossi all the time, it's interesting how none of his hundreds of rants that he must have had on his team in the last 15 years was never chosen by dorna to display to the public publicly..

what dorna didn't show was maybe how lorenzo may have later on apologised to his assistant for talking to him a bit rough..no of course not, if that's shown how will lorenzo's bad attitude under pressure inside the comfort of his known and trusted team members be used to portray his utter lack of success, his supposed bad behaviour and his "bad guy"-ness in general..

But i don't think it's fair to criticize these guys for how they act or what they say when they are so deep into the zone. While i never competed in sport at their level, i did play competitive sports through Division 1 in college and i know that no one should be held accountable for how they think or what they say when the blood is pumping. I am sure they are easily distracted.
Think about it, have you never come off track or felt uncomfortable at speed because of something insignificant? I have...

Stoner rode against Rossi but Marquez has never ridden against Stoner. Spies is a guy who has ridden against al of them and he seems to think talent wise MM and Stoner are at the top of the pile together.

Spot on DE.

However despite their sycophantic deference to the HRC bully some kudos has to go to Yamaha for building a properly competitive open class bike, unlike HRC with their cynically detuned effort.

Yamaha has quietly hedged their bets not only with the factory/open bike specs, but with riders. When Rossi does pull up stumps he will be replaced by an Espargaro. Which one? They have given themselves plenty of time to make that decision.

... won't beat Marquez.
If Pol would be close to MM in terms of talent, he should have been kicking Bradley's ass by now.
If Aleix keeps imitating Bautista when it matters, he'll never get a factory ride.

Indeed. I'm still waiting for Aleix to actually fulfill his potential this year. He's clearly got the speed but there's too many mistakes. Just like Cal, eh?

... will be where Marquez's next challenge will come from. No current rider will be able to step up to his level in my opinion.

...there'll be one in there somewhere, there always is, he'll be honing his craft as we speak

I don't think Yamaha deserve any praise for building a competitive Open class machine because the did not build an open class machine- they supplied one by not building one...If that makes sense!

No, it doesn't. Yamaha & Honda built & supplied bikes to the open class regulations. In Yamahas case they supplied engines on a lease basis to be installed in a bespoke chassis as per the Moto2 philosophy, an open option encouraged by Dorna. NGM Forward initially had planned to build a bike around the bare M1 Yamaha frame until the FTR chassis was available. That deal seems to have gone sour however. Do you think the Honda open class teams are able to modify & service the RSV1000R engines. No, Honda has exclusive rights to service the engines the same as Yamaha. RSV1000R teams may own the bikes, but not the engines. So the essential difference is that the NGM Forward bikes are a Yamaha engine & frame kit with all the other running gear created by the team Moto2 style, whilst the RSV1000R is a turn-key-racer. The teams pay big euros to have either bike in the garage, much more than CRT bikes of 2013. If the RSV1000R teams really "owned" their bikes, then Gresini & Aspar would be in furious activity building 24 litre tanks & trying to extract more power from the engine. No sign of that though, wonder why? NGM Forward already build the tanks on their "lease" bikes so this is not a problem

The most telling difference however is the RSV1000R is supplied spec'ed to a level that renders its performance inferior to the Honda Satellite factory spec bikes that are in turn spec'ed inferior to the Repsol bikes. Yamaha on the other hand have supplied equipment at a level that allows the NGM Forward to compete with the Tech3 Satellite bikes in the races & the factory bikes in qualifying. Now tell me again which Open class bike has been supplied in the spirit of sporting competition?

Everyone will probably know now that season is more or less wrapped up unless a series of mishappenings or a laudable performance of yamaha hits hrc hard. And Mr Lorenzo guerrero must now know that its almost impossible to beat mm#93 to the title and his biggest record of having the highest points in a single season (383 in 2010) will be shattered.

The truth is that even though rossi has improved and has closed on jorge is just because the 2014 slicks affects his riding style less than it affests his teammate. Once modified slicks with better edge grip will come jorge will strike back as he said now its not their moment. But then also winning from honda will be a huge mountain climbing task.......they can brake later, accelerate earlier, requires less metres to make the corner and have mastered the first gear corners. Still jorge is fighting with the hondas and that's commendable. Can anyone else............??

If I'm not mistaken, Rossi was on the hard front (as was Marquez) while Lorenzo chose the medium. I reckon Rossi chose best, his pace near the end was a lot higher than Lorenzo's. Pedrosa was on the medium as well but managed to save his tire in the first ten laps.

Also great track, still a great shame about Laguna but this track is a good replacement.

I have enjoyed all the four classes.

was the most exciting. Despite the Fenati mistake the whole race was a pleasure to watch and the final lap breathtaking. I am also very happy to see ta new talent coming up, even more from a less under the radar country as Belgium.

more quiet and I am happy for Gresini, a guy I like a lot and supported loads of talents in motoracing.

so glad to see Pedrosa winning again. Very solid race, slowly upping the pace and then the winning overtake on Lorenzo fully confident. Shame Rossi wasn't closer for more sparkle.

that's the pinnacle of racing and every-time I am in awe looking at the guy. The commentator said he had a second over everyone and apparently Marc heard him, the next lap he overtook JLo and it was gone in a couple of turns. The real question is can he go for the grand slam?

Moto3: I know I'm repeating what so many people have already said but Moto3 was absolutely amazing to watch. Three amazing riders furiously swapping spots until it was five then three again. Like watching an amazing thriller movie I was on the edge of my seat to the bitter end.

As for the touching at the end personally I don't see the big deal. Anyone who's seen a Moto3 race knows that it's all about staying with the lead group and then going for it on the last lap. Granted I don't want racers running into one another for the heck of it but the act that they are willing to push and push to the bitter end gives me high hopes for all of their futures.

Moto2: Well I'm still getting into Moto2 so I don't have many comments.

MotoGP: I have and endless respect for Marquez's skills and the way he has totally changed the name of the game these last two seasons. But that said watching Lorenzo jump out in front (as he always does when he's not jumping starts) just to have Marquez lazily make his way passed everyone was yawn inspiring. These last few races (and I know its horrible to say) but I really wanted to see Marquez make a mistake. Run wide, low side or a "gentle" hi side. Something, anything to prove he's human. But it was not to be. Marquez got a bad start but it was no issue for him at all. I want good racing, not a parade :-(. Marquez is a rare talent to be sure and no one can doubt his skills but man if no one can step it up we are in for a boring few seasons.

Just shows how quickly MM has matured to where he clearly does not panic at the start of a race if he bogs. He bides his time, makes aggressive but apparently prudent moves to overtake when/where he needs. Most of all, I think he's confident enough in his ultimate ability to take the lead and shut it all down with 13 laps left to go, where many riders would have been content to shadow and hedge their bets until only 5-3 laps remained until they tried an overtake.

MM looks to be unstoppable, and I think JL has got to be having the crisis of his career. I think JL has the mental fortitude to fight back more than anyone, but as everyone else has said, MM's skills/craft/luck are unbeatable. I actually like Stoner more than Marquez on basically all fronts (lol this is easy for me as an unapologetic American), but I don't think even CS27 could take on MM93.

with not enough testing. zero engine development & fixed tyres -
the situation will remain the same.
We have seen the same situation in F1 for 4 years. Until they had to shake it up ( way too much) this year.
We may get an incling of how good Honda will be on spec software soon, if they give the productions Honda teams last years 'works' engines.

Its not like #93 is a god that he can win all the races this season and take 450 points. Or win 5 titles in a row......

All things are in his favour now bike, rules , tracks but i am not saying that he doesn't has skill maybe he's the most talented or equally talented as no #27. He's good and i know that he will continue like that but man nobody can guarantee that........if he was on a yamaha he too would've been struggglin as jorge now........if #99 is as comfortable on his m1 as last year with grippy tyres we know what he is capable of and currently the only rider that can fight marc. And its more likely jorge will go to honda and then we could see some great battles....

JL to HRC- no chance.

No reason for HRC to bother, They have the apparent best #1 in the world, and the third best in the world. So why change? I am sure they will say they want JL and bid high enough to empty the coffers of Yamaha and force Movistar (and Monster maybe) to 'crowdfund' but I don't believe they would really want to bring him in or, in reality that JL would want to come in to an organization so clearly supportive of MM.

There is a case to say one should admire JL should he chose to face MM on equal machinery but I would really like to see him move to Ducati for a multitude of reasons but mostly because it could be hugely positive for all parties. He won't though.

The new Argentinean track produced some wonderful racing this weekend. The large crowd in it's first year is unsurprising given the span of time since GP's last visit, but it will be 2015 when we get a sense for the truly committed fans making a 1000k trip from the capital.

I keep telling myself I should watch the races in reverse order. Moto3 consistently provides the most edge of the seat experience, followed by the intermediate class and MotoGP. I love the fierce battling, especially with Fenati and Miller, but have noticed how mature the top runners are this year too. Passes are better planned (save for Fenati's last lap dive) and those with the pace don't panic when they find themselves in 7th after the first lap. I'm a fan of Jack Miller and hope he can progress through Moto3 and Moto2 so perhaps MM93 will have some competition in 2016.

So the Open class bikes can use a softer rear tire than the factory bikes but they can't use the harder compound the factories use? I only ask this due to Iannone saying his rear tire went away after 8-10 laps & that he didn't have the option of using the hard rear that the full factory bikes could.

I was under the impression the open bikes could use any tire they chose in addition to the softer rear that the factories cannot.

Open bikes (including Ducati) do not get the option of running the hardest rear tire. They get a qualifying benefit by having the softest tire available to them, but so far it has not been a viable race choice for the faster bikes (AE41 and the Ducs).

thanks for the clarification fellas

Now allow me go a step further and say.....at Austin & now Argentina, Iannone has had problems with the rear tire fading at approx. 1/2 race distance so I'm thinking the hard rear would definitely help. No matter, they'll have to try & make it work with they have available.

Excuse me....CS27 won't hold a candle to MM93, if they ever get into a dogfight aboard equal machines, Stoner end up in the kitty litter, in the psychologist office or in the gastroenterology office. MM it's simply way more consistent and he's not just a little faster than the others, he's absolutely dominating, I can't recall CS27 ever wining almost every race and every pole like if he was riding in a club race.


There were periods over 6 years where Stoner was that much faster than the rest that it wasn't funny, often on a Ducati. Marquez only won this race by a couple of seconds and didn't actually set the fastest lap of the race, three races in a row is hardly unprecedented historically.

Surely mm just did that thing that only those at the very top do - win by the smallest margin necessary. The guy didn't even break sweat. I now think that the piercing look he got from vr after Qatar was that of someone realising mm is better than even he was, and may even be unbeatable in ordinary circumstances.

I don't think that's a very accurate statement, and the whole paragraph smacks of a bit of tabloid journalism.

Ducati chose the open rules because they're desperate and they correctly read and used the rules to their full advantage. Necessity is the mother of invention.

And painting Yamaha to be kowtowing to "daddy" Honda is a fine bit of hyperbole.

It was just 2 years ago that Yamaha were world champions with Jorge, and their most recent issues have been with tires, not fuel limits.

Yamaha also did deviate from Honda's "master-plan" by leasing full satellite engines and chassis, which Honda has complained about, instead of building a lower performance bike for purchase, which have made the Open Yamaha's dance circles around the Open Hondas.

Yamaha just has to do some catching up... AND Honda happens to have the beginnings of the greatest rider in the history of the sport sitting on their bike.

The comment explaining this perceived deference of Yamaha to Honda as a "Japanese thing" is laughable. What "thing" is being referring to here... specifically... I mean really, specifically?

And finally, the conspiracy theory about Bridgestone being biased towards Honda/Yamaha is interesting (not in this article). Maybe the supporters of this view are waiting for Bridgestone/Yamaha/Honda to spring a surprise attack on Pearl Harbor too.

This is my #1 go to site for analysis and commentary, but I swear, sometimes I feel like some people are sitting in front of their computers/phones with curlers in their hair and a slim capri cigarette in their hand with a 3-inch long ash dangling precariously from the end.

Hey, we just want to recreate a "Mortal Kombat" between MM93 and CS27, for our entertainment.


In a sense you are right. But given the circumstances right now, some GP fans think Stoner is the only guy who has a fighting chance with Marquez's "Doohanesque" dominance. Unless Lorenzo switches to HRC next year.

... you make no similar demand about Mick Doohan despite he gaining more mentions in the article and comments than Casey Stoner.

To not mention one of the most naturally gifted riders in modern GP racing when talking about the genesis of another would be remiss.

I agree with you, LewTheShoe. I am sick and tired of reading about how great he was and how nobody is a match to his talent (this from his fans) or how ordinary he was and how he faked his lactose intolerance and how he won a world title on a Ducati only because of the Bridgestone tyres that were specifically designed for the Ducati. This argument can go on as long as we are all alive and the pro and anti Stoner camps will not budge a millimeter. It would be nice if we can put a full stop to talking about Stoner in every context, be it Rossi, Lorenzo or Marquez. The really sad part of all this is that while Stoner is praised to high heavens for his world championship on a Ducati, nobody even accidentally brings up Preziosi who was at that time hailed a genius. If we can forget Preziosi, we can do the same with Stoner. Or just keep bringing more and more riders from the past into comparisons that are simply just nonsensical.

Well done. A fantastic track and a memorable GP event. Moto3 was clearly the cliffhanger on the day, yet I was hugely impressed with the sublime performance of Tito Rabat in M2. That fast flowing style is a joy to watch. The powers of concentration were exemplary given that his only reference was his pit board.
Main event was as anticipated. Marc had too much of everything for the rest all weekend long. Credit to him given his youthfulness. He suppressed the temptation to just disappear over the horizon earlier than he did. Doohanesque performance indeed thus far this year. Dani must be feeling a bit like Criville back then. Doohan won 12 in one season I believe, is that Marc's next milestone? Back at Yamaha, as anticipated. Anyone thinking Lorenzo had lost his nerve was proved a fool. Another brilliant ride by him. For the first time in a long time, I believe Honda do have the better bike. Nevertheless, the boring Factory Honda vs Yamaha all Bridgestone shod 4 bike GP season 2014 rages apace.
Back to Ducati. Great performance by Maniac Joe. Now! Gigi said he needed 3 races worth of data to start turning their kit around. The 3 strikes are up mate. With Jerez up next week we will cut you a bit of slack, but YOU said it ! No Ducati dry and convincing podium in Mugello this year and one would have to conclude that Preziosi's efforts given his miniscule resources during his tenure were in fact huge in terms of achievement. Heat is on Gigi.
Problem for the most hunted rider scalps come silly season is whose going to risk trading Euro's for the Ducati seat next year? Sure as hell won't be Valentino. Ironically, a fat enough Marlboro carrot dangled in front of Marc may tempt him to smash another myth. There remains that 'winning for different manufacturers' clause on the final offramp to GP MegaStardom.

Bring Stoner back whatever it takes. Im positive that he can give Marquez a run for his money on a Honda or Yamaha. Give him a 15mil$/year contract, with added bonus 1mil$/race win, 500k for 2nd, 250k for 3rd, plus another 5 mil$ bonus if he wins the championship. No media/marketing commitments, only post race press conference and leave him alone to do his thing.
Then Lorenzo makes the jump to HRC(there is a 50/50 chance he will do it). So Marquez, Lorenzo and Stoner all on factory Hondas and a Rossi - Pedrosa team on Open Yamahas - thats my wet dream.

>>Bring Stoner back whatever it takes

Unfortunately, none of the manufacturers will ever allow MotoGP to go back to racing two strokes, so he's done. Stoner turned down $15 million a year, money was never an issue. And if he does get the itch again, he will have been out of racing for a long time. Hard to pick up speed again after such a long time out.

David, I didnt quite understand the reasons for Stoner's early retirement. From what I can remember he was upset with the politics in MotoGP, and the fact that he didnt have a life outside motorcycling and wished to spend time with his family and friends back home. But somehow 750cc two strokes trumps all that? I admire him as a person, I especially admire he's bold decision to retire in his prime and on top of that, leading the championship at that point. Also im a great fan of his riding but I cant understand what the hell is he thinking. Or maybe he's just answering the jurnalists questions just to be polite. I mean how many times a guy can say IM RETIRED, I WILL NOT RACE AGAIN after he already retired and clearly is out of MotoGP for good. So in order to not give the same answer over and over again, he just says stuff like 750cc two stroke racing or pigs flying. Maybe, I dont really know.

Do you know if someone asked him these questions in private or in public: "What does it takes for you to stay? What do you need?"

That comment on two stokes was ages ago and just a dig at what was going on. Read his bio. He was ready to walk before Honda. Boy are we lucky he didn't. Just think how different that would've made things.

The comment on the two strokes was indeed in Stoner's final year. The sense I got talking to Stoner was that he was desperate to be gone. He'd been racing all his life, had achieved everything he wanted to, but had been pressured into racing, and just wanted a normal life. The fact that he visited Austin and dipped in and out of the paddock almost by stealth, seeing only a few people, coming and going and still managing to avoid almost everyone tells you all you need to know about his attitude to the paddock. There is more to life than racing, if racing is all you've known. It's hard to understand if you're not in his situation. But things always look much rosier from the outside.

David, you answered two of my comments which made my day because I respect you as a journalist and you do seem to ask the most pertinent and interesting questions @ the press conferences.
I might be getting used to this and ill try to ask you some more questions offtopic.
For example:
Have you ever asked Ezpeleta why doesnt he hire a well established US based PR firm who can book Marquez or Rossi on those late-night talk shows when MotoGP travels to America?(Jimmy Fallon, Jimmy Kimmel, David Letterman-who is also a big fan of racing 2 and 4wheels-see his interview with Vettel)
The US is a huge mature market and is virtually untapped by MotoGP even with 2 races there.
Its hurting my brain so much when I see that goofy looking kid Josh Hutcherson being worshiped by teenage girls and saying that he's hoping to change the world with acting (yeah, he actually said that, im not just a Hollywood hater:)
And then you have Marquez or Rossi or any guy on the grid, who are more deserving of worship than those Hollywood teen hacks, being virtually anonymous in America.

Also why the hell they are trying to fight the social media sharing concept and striking down every fan videos out there? Just to squeeze a little more $$$$ for their site? Its insane. Granted, they did have a small change of policy with their YT channel beginning with the 2013 season. They added more videos with on and off the track action. Coincidentally or not, the small change came after a big discussion on this site about Dorna not getting the social media thing at all. But still if you strike down every fan input on copyright bases your just stupid. Instead of fighting it, just embrace it. Its a win-win on long and short term. I understand not tolerating full 2014 races being uploaded because of exclusive TV contracts, but hitting small fan based action clips or races from the past? Again, that its just STUPID.

Getting riders onto US talk shows is not something Ezpeleta has done. It's something worth looking into, however, the fact that most riders don't have English as a first language would make such an appearance difficult. Rossi could possibly carry it off, Marc Marquez' English is not yet fluent enough for him to manage it.

As for social media, these are conversations I have had many, many times with representatives of Dorna. They are aware of the issues, but altering their policy is like turning an oil tanker around. It takes a long time. Improvement is coming, but it's coming slowly. Very, very slowly.

You're spot on with the oil tanker analogy. Changes were made and will be made in the future and is definitely improved the spectacle, viewing, sponsorhip. MotoGP has the potential to be in the top 5 sporting events of the world. To be fair all media conclomerates act like Dorna. They are extremely protective of their content.

Regarding the late night shows in America, I didnt think about the language barrier,its a good point, although I remember seeing a few years ago some comments on a YT video about Rossi's accent being sexy. I dont understand how that tortured english is sexy, but then again im not an native english speaking woman.
They can get around this barrier fairly easy, I think. The questions and answers are always prepaired ahead of time, months ahead. A 5 minute interview its not that complicated to arrange and perfect in english. Basically the guys would need to talk a total of 2 minutes.
Also Jimmy Fallon the new host of The Tonight Show, loves to play games or have races with his guests. A 5 minute interview+a minibike race=more air time(without talking). Or they could bring a MotoGP bike and fire it up in the studio and scare the shit out of the audience. There are many things that they can do. They just need to do it. You can reach tens of millions of american viewers with one appearance.
Putting Bradl with his RCV in some rich neighbourhood of San Francisco like in this video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8daQD6u4SWI is not an good way to promote MotoGP. Putting him in a New York Yankees game to do some burnouts and wheelies is way more effective.

Again David, thank you for answering my MotoGP curiosities.

It's funny, we're 3 races in and I guess we should forget the rest of the season already. Just hand the crown to Marquez now? At the beginning of 2012 everybody thought Stoner was gonna repeat and walk on everybody. Then he got hurt. It's racing and anything can happen. That's why they still line up on Sundays. There is an element of luck to racing. If Marquez is lucky and stays healthy and doesn't crash, then sure, he may embarrass everyone else. He's the most talented out there, and the bike and tires are really working well for him.

well actually before he got hurt (which happened in the beginning of second half of the 2012 season) and thus formally out of the title run, he was trailing lorenzo by 35-40 points or something with 1 less win than lorenzo...my point being he was already considered by many as nearly out of the title run before he got hurt with lorenzo the most likely candidate..

And many that Stoner had a very strong record at. The mistake at Sachsenring cost him a lot of points where he probably didn't need to battle Pedrosa so hard for the win but he still had a very realistic shot at the title before his ankle got busted up.

Not winning at Qatar, never mind by devastating margin, was akin to him coming up short at Philip Island. Something was not there. Fighting back to retire from points lead was impressive. Racing with that broken ankle the next day and finishing fourth was pure grit and guts. They had to make him a special boot from one several sizes larger for him to even put it on... This guy was / is a tank.

But the thing is, Marquez doesn't even look like he's on the limit. It actually looks like he could go into a high side and flip the bike over his head, land on two wheels and skidaddle down the track to win yet again.

"It was a dark period for Grand Prix racing, fans fading away to watch World Superbikes, which featured closer racing, but more importantly, a larger-than-life character in 'King' Carl Fogarty, complete with comedy villains such as Frankie Chili."

Very perceptive David, and certainly true for me. During that period it bothered me little if I missed a motogp race as the result seemed so predictable whereas superbikes was the business.

I'm not sure many of us really foresaw this degree of dominance when mm appeared last year - I certainly didn't, I wonder if this will trigger a move by one or two big names over to superbikes - Rossi, Hayden, for instance - and see that series become the one to watch again. I'm sure Rossi won't stick around next year if he thinks wins are out of reach, but he seems to still have a passion for two wheels. I kind of hope this is what happens, if only to have something to look forward to watching, because motogp looks in danger of becoming very, very boring.

No mention yet of JL99's "fuhk-yous" he mentioned keeping in the race? Seemed a pretty apt mis statement. ;)

It is natural to yearn for CS27's return. His leaving was an abandonment in a sense, and leaves a vacuum. Return "fuhk-yous" to why we experience that and David's article illuminates something essential. First Honda engineers this overdog bike and rules to further bolster that. Then along comes MM93, and what do we suddenly have on our hands? Awe AND a gut intuition dawning that the essential fire of our passion for MotoGP has become a mere lighter for MM93 and HRC's cigars. That feeling is called DREAD.

On the video of JL99's garage behavior set aside anything but YOUR take on it watching. What does it indicate? How do you feel about him? Don't attribute to media and what it is indicating what is actually there. He was disrespectful and trite in asserting willfulness and control where it needn't be or just plain can't work. Importantly it is a moment in time only, and DOES speak a volume. It is not butter, it is hammer. He is still able to get that onto where the track and tire join and it is another legit way to do so congruent w his temperament.

Sure, I too am fantasizing about MM on a Suzuki or Ducati, who wouldn't? We were lucky enough to have the Rossi - Burgess M1 miracle already in our time. How about we open up to a curiousity and hope re another sort of miraculous development too. Honda, in their pride, hang on to the Factory rules next yr and are alone in doing so. Tires shift significantly. Yamaha "get it just right" w 22.5 liters and more motors AND Lorenzo or another of 4 or so riders that could perhaps arise beyond ordinary boundaries do just that and we see a challenger in 2015.

What can't happen happens w fair regularity in our beloved MotoGP. Stay curious!


Careful, or we will come to your place of work and test you on your pronunciation of Spanish ;-) 

Trabajo en espanol un poco y no prefero 'interpreters' porque es importante tenemos respecto y connecion. Tengo solamente dos anos escuela en espanol en 1983-84 y es dificil. Pero es bien para mis patientes del psychologica cuando no estoy complicado or 'importante y especial del mi' - es manteqillia. Me gusta mucho cuando Jorge habla "fuhk-yous" y es HUMAN. Tengo respecto para esto.

Don't forget to include the 'ñ' (ALT+164) in "español", without it, it is not spanish. ;-)

Buen trabajo hombre!

I read Rossi and Marquez go out to dinner. I wouldn't be surprised to see Yamaha make a monster (pun intended) offer to Marquez for next year. It is just the kind of shake up the sport could use, and if Marquez wants to enter the pantheon, what better way than to win titles on different bikes.

Its a great idea but still wouldnt be "fair". We will only know who's better, Lorenzo or Marquez if they are on the same team with the same equipment. And fingers crossed this might happen next year. Right now Yamaha clearly looks like a lame duck.

Racing , you call that racing . noway hosay . you want racing , watch British Superbike . and you won't have to sign up to BT either .

It's all down to Nakamoto and his success / genius. And I'm not talking about influencing rules. The record will show he's been lossing in that arena. He's beating the competition the old fashion way. Building the best bike and putting the best rider(s) on it. The guy is the man.

Contrast to yahmaha. If and when a comparable level exec even shows up at a grand prix it's a really big deal. Never mind the rest of it.

Surely Agostini was a great racer, but in my perspective there was an even greater racer in the form of Kim Newcombe, developing a racer around a 500cc two stroke outboard engine designed by dieter konig and racing it. If the crash at stowe's corner had not been fatal to him, he would have been a major force to be reckoned with on material that later became the standard when 500cc two strokes became the dominant force in gp racing

David, with Honda entering F1 next year as an engine supplier, is their Motogp effort going to be down sized at all?

If I recall after Honda pulled out of F1 in December 2008 a lot of their engineers were drafted into the motogp team.

If they do pull resources from the bikes, it might give the other manufacturers a chance to catch up.

I get so sick of some of the fans. I hate reading "Stoner was a god blah blah blah" or "Rossi would have beat so and so in his prime" or "MM is the best ever! No one has ever been like him!" or "Rossi was staring at MM thinking blah blah blah"

Shut up and watch the racing! Watch them slide both tires and brake to edge of the tires capability,etc, etc. This is racing not soap operas!

The villification of riders is all done intentionally because dumb fans eat that S@#$ up. They love it. Sorry if that is harsh but it's the truth. I'm not saying that I haven't had favorite riders and disliked other riders. But I base it all on their riding and post race interviews as that is the raw data, not cut up and made into what sells. The Lorenzo video is a great example of that, riders get frustrated, that doesn't make them evil or bad. Then they contrast that with MM posing for pics and joking around with other riders. What impression do we naturally get from that crap? Exactly what they want us to. I am a Rossi fan because back in the day he would throw down the fastest lap on the second last lap of the race while sliding the bike everywhere. He was amazing to watch. The smile and happy attitude was cool but I could take it or leave it. I get just as fired up watching Lorenzo or MM or Stoner do the same thing.

I am just waiting for people to start complaining that the racing is boring again because MM is dominating. Grow and attention span people. Love the sport not the drama.

PS- This was ALL aimed at the comments, not the article. I love the articles on this site, keep up the good work.

The whole show IS a soap opera. In between races, there is so much fun to be had with all the speculation, drama and comparisons.
It is up to the viewers to draw their conclusions from silly videos like the Lorenzo/Marquez travesty MotoGP.com posted. Hopefully, most people will realize there is usually more to what the cameras want to show us. If they don't, well, there are also people who think FoX offers an objective view on the world, right?